Mistake #1: Applying For New Credit
If youâre trying to repair your credit, the chances of being approved for additional credit, especially unsecured credit, are not great. You could be wasting a hard inquiry that ends up lowering your credit score right at the time youâre trying to raise it. Itâs best to save applying for new credit for laterâafter your credit has been repaired.
Follow Up After The Investigation
Heres what to expect when the investigation is complete:
- The results of the investigation, in writing, from the credit reporting bureau.
- A free copy of your credit report, if the report has changed.
What about parties who have seen your incorrect information? You can ask the credit bureaus to notify them of the corrections, the FTC says. This includes:
- Notifying anyone who received your report in the past six months.
- Sending a corrected copy of your report to anyone who received it in the past two years.
But what if the investigation doesnt resolve your dispute? If the furnisher continues to report the error, you can ask the credit bureaus to include a statement in your credit file that describes your side of the dispute and it will be included in future credit reports. For a fee, you can usually ask the credit bureau to send a copy of the statement to anyone who has recently received a copy of your report.
Also, if you believe you were treated unfairly or a valid error remains on your credit report, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB is required to forward the complaint to the company with which you have an issue. The CFPB usually will provide you with a response within 15 days.
How long can it take for an error to be corrected on your credit report after the dispute is resolved? Credit bureaus have five business days after finishing their investigation to notify you of the results.
When And How To Get Your Credit Report
You should review your credit report from the three major U.S. credit reporting agencies at least once a year, especially before making a large purchase, like a buying a house or a car.
Credit agencies typically charge fees for reports. However, you are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three major credit agencies once a year from www.annualcreditreport.com or call toll-free 1-877-322-8228. In addition, youre entitled to a free credit report:
- Within 60 days of being denied credit, insurance, or employment
- Once a year if youre unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days
- If youre on welfare
- If your report is inaccurate because of fraud, including identity theft
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How To Win A Dispute With The Credit Rating Agencies
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A high credit score can save you thousands of dollars over your lifetime of borrowing money. The opposite is true of a low credit score. You can end up paying far more than you should because of a low number. But sometimes there are errors made and something that shouldnt be on your credit report shows up, putting a negative impact on your score.
Fortunately, with any information thats inaccurate or unconfirmed, there are actions consumers can take to potentially remove it from their credit history. Credit reporting agencies are required to investigate if a consumer raises a dispute. If the credit-reporting agency is unable to confirm the information with the company that reported the debt, then it must delete the information from the consumers credit report. In most cases, the unconfirmed information will be deleted from your credit report within 30 days.
If you want to dispute something on your credit report, heres what you should do.
Once the issue has been resolved, the credit reporting company will give you the results in writing and a free copy of your report if there was a change. If there were corrections, you can request that the credit reporting company notify anyone who received your report in the past six months. That window widens to the past two years for anyone who received your report for employment purposes.
Get A Free Copy Of Your Credit Report
The Fair Credit Reporting Act promotes the accuracy and privacy of information in the files of the nations credit reporting companies. Monitoring your credit report is a necessary practice to keep in check any negative information. Consumers should obtain their free credit report and review it at least once a year to catch any irregularities on time and keep track of disputed items.
Consumers are entitled by law to a free annual credit report from each of the three main reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, and you can access all three of them through one single website:
AnnualCreditReport.com is the only authorized website through which you can gain free access to your credit report from the three major bureaus. Be wary of other sites that promise the same, as they may have hidden fees, try to sell something, or collect personal information.
|Mail: Download, print, fill out, and mail to:|
|Annual Credit Report Request Service P.O. Box 105281 Atlanta, GA 30348-5281|
Equifax made headlines in 2017 due to a massive data breach, but it remains one of the top 3 services to get your credit report. The company provides a few different service levels if you want to monitor your credit score monthly . Monitoring packages start at $14.95 per month, and the $19.95 per month options include, ironically, a host of identity-theft protection options.
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Check Your Credit Reports For Updates
It may take some time for your credit reports to be updated. Creditors can take up to 45 days to send a credit bureau new information, according to TransUnion. If the information isnt updated after 45 days, contact the credit bureaus or data furnisher again to see why inaccurate information is still being reported.
What If The Information Is Rightbut Not Good
If theres information in your credit history thats correct, but negative for example, if youve made late payments the credit bureaus can put it in your credit report. But it doesnt stay there forever. As long as the information is correct, a credit bureau can report most negative information for seven years, and bankruptcy information for 10 years.
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Contact The Credit Bureaus
Both Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada have forms for correcting errors and updating information. Fill out the form to correct errors:
Before the credit bureau can change the information on your credit report, it will need to investigate your claim. It will check your claim with the lender that reported the information.
If the lender agrees there is an error, the credit bureau will update your credit report.
If the lender confirms that the information is correct, the credit bureau will leave your report unchanged.
In some provinces, the credit bureau is required to send a revised copy of your credit report to anyone who recently requested it.
Disputing Credit Report Errors Online
This is probably the most simple and quick way to make your dispute, but sometimes there are drawbacks. You cannot fully complete your dispute online as you will still need to send proof to support your dispute through the mail. However, you can also easily check the status of your dispute online by simply providing your confirmation number. Although the final results of your dispute will only be sent to you by mail. Follow the below links to submit your online credit report dispute:
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Identify Any Credit Report Errors
Review your credit reports periodically for inaccurate or incomplete information. You can get one free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion once a year at annualcreditreport.com. You can also subscribe, usually at a cost, to a credit monitoring service and review your report monthly.
Some common credit report errors you might spot include:
- Identity mistakes such as an incorrect name, phone number or address.
- A so-called mixed file that contains account information belonging to another consumer. This may occur when you and another consumer have the same or similar names.
- An account incorrectly attributed to you due to identity theft.
- A closed account thats still being reported as open.
- An incorrect reporting of you as an account owner, when you are just an authorized user on an account.
- A remedied delinquency such as a collections account that you paid off yet still shows as unpaid.
- An account thats incorrectly labelled as late or delinquent, which could include outdated information such as a late payment thats over 7 years old or an incorrect date regarding your last payment.
- The same debt listed more than once.
- An account listed more than once with different creditors.
- Incorrect account balances.
- Inaccurate credit limits.
Mistake #: Sending Uncertified Mail
Any paperwork you send to a credit agency, collection agency, or creditor, should be sent certified mail with the return receipt requested. This provides you with the documentation mentioned above as well as proof the agency received your letter. The same âproofâ rule applies to any communication to you from any of the above entities. Do not verbally agree to anything unless it is also in writing. That way you will know what the agency has agreed to and, more importantly, will have written proof.
All communication should be in writing you shouldn’t verbally agree to anything unless it is also in writing.
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Mistake #1: Filing For Bankruptcy
Some people think they need a fresh start and decide to ârepairâ their credit by filing for bankruptcy. Unfortunately, bankruptcy will not improve your credit rating, it will remain on your credit report for up to 10 years, and even when itâs gone, many lenders will ask if youâve ever filed for bankruptcy as part of the loan application process and use that as a reason for not approving a loan.
What Are Your Rights In The Event Of Fraud
In Canada, consumers are protected by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. In the case of fraud by law, your maximum liability cant exceed $50.00. In this case, its your responsibility to contact your credit card issuer immediately once you notice your card has been used fraudulently.
Furthermore, the major credit card companies each have their own liability policy that protects you from fraudulent credit card use.
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Place A Credit Freeze
Contact each credit reporting agency to place a freeze on your credit report. Each agency accepts freeze requests online, by phone, or by postal mail.
PO Box 26Pittsburgh, PA 15230-0026
Your credit freeze will go into effect the next business day if you place it online or by phone. If you place the freeze by postal mail, it will be in effect three business days after the credit agency receives your request. A credit freeze does not expire. Unless you lift the credit freeze, it stays in effect.
How To Launch A Dispute
If you feel as though your credit report includes inaccurate information concerning your credit history, depending on which credit bureau you feel has recorded inaccurate information, there are several ways you can initiate a dispute.
Keep in mind that your credit report from one bureau may be different from the other. If both bureaus have reported inaccurate information, youll need to get in contact with both.
You can initiate a dispute with TransUnion either over the phone or by mail.
For service in English call: 1-800-663-9980
For service in French and for anyone living in Quebec call: 1-877-713-3393 or 514-335-0374
To initiate a dispute by mail youll need to download, print, and fill out an Investigation Request Form.
- Your current employment information
- Your current address
- Your previous address if youve been living at your current address for less than two years.
- The name of the company associated with the item you want to dispute .
- The account number of the item you wish to dispute
- The reason why you wish to dispute the item
- Documentation that supports your dispute .
Learn how to read your credit report here.
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If Youve Spotted An Error On One Of Your Credit Reports You Should Take Immediate Steps To Correct The Inaccuracy
Around 25% of U.S. consumers found errors that could affect their credit scores in one of their credit reports, according to a 2012 study by the Federal Trade Commission. The same study reported that one in five consumers had an error that a credit bureau corrected after the consumer disputed the mistake on at least one report.
An error on your credit reports could lead to lower credit scores and impact your ability to open a new credit account or get a loan. Here are steps you can take to ask the credit bureaus to remove incorrect derogatory marks from your credit.
Gather Materials & Documents To Dispute Errors
Before you submit your dispute, you should gather the personal information and documents the credit bureau or creditor may need to investigate your claim.
When you open a dispute, you may be asked for the following personal information:
- A copy of your drivers license or government-issued ID
- Your current address and addresses for the past two years
In addition, you may be asked for the following documentation to support your dispute:
- Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Report or a police report if an account has been added as a result of identity theft
- Billing statements
- Canceled check or money order stub showing a bill has been paid
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Reasons For A Credit Card Dispute
Credit card disputes can happen for a variety of reasons. Its possible that your card information and security have been compromised, in which case you would likely notice numerous invalid purchases rather than just a single one. If there are many questionable transactions or if youre sure youve lost your credit card, you would need to phone your credit card provider right away to cancel your card rather than just dispute the transactions.
However, in the case where you are certain that your card has not been compromised, there can be several reasons for a single billing error, including
- A transaction error on the part of a merchant
- A cardholder ordered an item but never received it
- A cardholder returned an item but did not receive the proper credit
- A merchant charged the card more than once for the same item
- A consumer was sent the wrong item or a defective product
Check For Updates To Your Credit Report
Updates to your affected credit reports may take some time to appear. It can depend on the specific credit bureaus update cycle and when the furnisher sends the new information to the credit bureau.
If the update doesnt appear on your credit reports within several months, contact the credit bureaus and the furnisher to verify its reporting your account information to the bureaus.
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Review Your Credit Reports For Errors
Your are based on information provided by companies to the three major credit bureausExperian, Equifax and Transunion. To identify which credit reports contain errors, you have to review each report separately. You can do this by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. Due to Covid-19, you can view all three of your reports for free weekly through April 20, 2022.
Dispute Your Credit Reports Errors
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, both the credit reporting bureau and the company that reports the information about you to the credit bureau are required to accept disputes from consumers and correct any inaccurate or incomplete information about you in that report.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission recommends taking these actions:
- Tell the credit bureau, in writing, what information you think is inaccurate. The Federal Trade Commission provides a sample dispute letter that makes this step easier. The letter outlines what information to include, from presenting the facts to requesting that the error be removed or corrected.
- Include copies, not originals, of materials that support your position.
- Consider enclosing a copy of your credit report with the errors circled or highlighted.
- Send your letter by certified mail with return receipt requested to ensure the letter is delivered. Keep your post office receipt.
- Keep copies of everything you send.
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Disputes Related To Accounts Or Public Records
- The information you disputed has been updated.
- The information you disputed might have been verified as accurate by the data furnisher, but other information on your account unrelated to your dispute has been updated.
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